“His notoriety came from his gentlemanly conduct and his outlandish dress sense rather than from his treacherous exploits. He was a mystery, a romantic hero, the Lothario of the seas.”
John Rackham was probably the least successful pirate ever to captain a ship. However, his garish fashion sense, womanising and general flouting of every rule in the pirate code have made him one of the best loved pirates of the Caribbean and Latin America. He is also the man responsible for designing the iconic Jolly Roger flag, a symbol we recognise to this day.
Rackham began his villianous career as quartermaster for the infamous Charles Vane, who made his living looting ships off New York. During their spree of law-breaking and criminality they came across a huge French man-o-war, from which Vane, out of caution, ordered a retreat. But Rackham, tempted by the riches on board, led a mutiny against the…
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